A red golden retriever, Auto reached heights of fame that few dogs or people ever dreamt of, he was the canine that Garth Stein based the narrator of his bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain on. Garth would often come out to the track with his dad, ride in the backseat (Auto took the passenger seat, of course), and learned about the world of motorsports from Don Kitch Jr. Watching Auto lean into the turns like a pro driver made a lasting impression on the writer.
Auto was very popular with many other clients as well, once they learned not to leave their lunches unattended. He was often the first ProFormance “instructor” which clients met in the paddock. The canine was more than excited to introduce you to his world-famous dad, Don, or show you his favorite “big boy toys” (otherwise known as wooden sticks) which he would chew on or throw around entertaining the students and disrupting the class.
Today Auto lives on in the memories of ProFormance instructors and clients alike. Around the ProFormance building, there are constant little reminders of his presence, most notably, the small memorial plate above the entrance step where he would welcome the day’s drivers. Ask any veteran ProFormance instructor or client, and they’ll be sure to have an Auto story to tell.